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Posts Tagged ‘the white stripes’

First, the good news.

Best Comedy Series

The Big Bang Theory (CBS)

Years of Devotion to How I Met Your Mother and Scrubs has been painful at times, as both of these hilarious but criminally under watched shows suffered from time slot shifts and near cancellation more than once. But HIMYM‘s fifth season was all but assured this year as it experienced a small uptick thanks to it’s new lead in. Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady’s superior Friends meets Seinfeld meets SciFi convention multicam sitcom has quickly become the most reliable funny show on the boob tube.

Best Comedic Performance- Male

Jim Parsons as Sheldon Cooper, The Big Bang Theory

The lanky actor with a slight lisp and a gift for comedic OCD reactions has been the breakout  star on a solid ensemble cast. A virtual unknown before the show, he has quickly become the front man for the cast, doing more press than all the others four combined. And if anyone has seen his spots on Craig Ferguson, he is charming, funny, and Un-Sheldonlike. But nothing tops TBBT Christmas episode, in which Sheldon hugs Penny ( Kaley Cuoco)- that is physical comedy at it’s best.

Best Comedic Performance- Female

Jane Krakowski as Jenna on 30 Rock

She has always been funny ( look at her character on Ally McBeal), but this year, Jenna has been inspired, even profane ( black face? Seriously?). Jane and Tracy Morgan are making a brilliantly idiotic comic team. Jenna’s vacuous presence makes up for a more uneven season.

Best Drama Series

Chuck (NBC)

Okay, it’s one of the funniest shows on TV. But this spy dramedy mashup is also one of the most affecting shows I have ever had the privilege to watch. The Josh Schwartz /Chris Fedak run show has vastly improved in it’s second season ( and it’s first, strike shortened season wasn’t bad to begin with). Wildly inventive while being almost religiously devoted to geek world references ( plus a deep love of the 80s- the show adores Spies Like Us to the point of ridiculousness, but you love every minute of it). Bonus- an awesome soundtrack. Well, it is a Josh Schwartz show.

Best Dramatic Performance- Male

Zachary Levi as Chuck Bartowski, Chuck

We in the know and who loved Less than Perfect  remember Levi as being comically gifted ( and a great singer- ” Luck be A Lady” was a series highlight for me). But his portrayal of the Nerd Herder with a government computer in his brain is a gentle mix of comedy and pathos. He breaks my heart as often as he makes me laugh. And now that he knows kung fu, I’m all agog. Brilliant.

Best Dramatic Performance- Female

Elisabeth Moss as Peggy Olsen, Mad Men

As the girl who walks into the mean manly man world of advertising, she delivers a subtle, heart breaking performance. She has suffered tremendously for her ambition on both a personal and a professional level, but do not mistake her for a pushover. Moss, so winning on The West Wing as Zoey Bartlett, has really grown into a spectacularly nuanced actress.

Best Series Finale- Till it wasn’t

Scrubs (ABC)

In perfect cohesion with the rest of the series. Everyone was there. Hooch really is crazy. Beardface, Snoop Dogg Intern/Resident, Gloria, even those who have passed. A sweet sentimental moment where J.D. ( Zach Braff- still so good here) sees his future. Small cameo by Bill Lawrence himself. Then ABC ruins my deep affection for this perfect episode of a much beloved network cannon fodder show by bringing it back for a ninth season. It still is a moving show, but I can’t imagine Scrubs without J.D.

Best Series Finale That Is Actually A Finale

ER (NBC)

The Thursday night lead out for fifteen seasons, ER  stopped being the big focus of NBC somewhere around the time George Clooney left. Lord knows I barely watched it in the last decade. But I tuned in all the same. And it, too, was a perfect finale. In fact, it really wasn’t a finale at all. Yes, old timer cast members came back for a visit, but it felt organic, not forced. The episode mirrored the pilot in many ways, yes, but it felt like it was true to the show as a whole. It was special because it wasn’t special.

And now the bad:

Worst “Comedy”

Kath and Kim ( NBC)

Just not funny. Too bad. I love Molly Shannon.

Worst ” Drama”

Knight Rider ( NBC)

This show wasn’t that good in the 80s when Hasselhoff was the MAN. Did Silverman and co. really think it would work now?

Moments from the season that should be remembered:

  • Adam Lambert’s gorgeous version of ” Mad World”, Kris Allen’s stunning rendition of ” Falling Slowly”, Allison Iraheta ‘s exquisite ” Someone To Watch Over Me”, and whatever that note was that Danny Gokey let loose at the end of ” Dream On” which wasn’t even human. ( American Idol)
  • An injury plagued season of Dancing With The Stars that was more entertaining than it had any right to be.
  • Barney Stinson is in love with Robin Sherbatsky!
  • While we’re on the topic of HIMYM, damn, they did the lamest/coolest job of hiding Alyson Hannigan and Cobie Smulders pregnancies.
  • I cannot reiterate how hilarious the hug Sheldon gave Penny in the Christmas episode of The Big Bang Theory is. Just genius.
  • Chuck Bass says ” I love you”. Twice.
  • The entire second season of Chuck. This show is so much better than Heroes.
  • House losing his mind. Kutner’s suicide. Amber. Huddy sex that wasn’t real.  ( House).
  • The performance of Harvey Keitel in the short but glorious run of ABC’s Life On Mars. yes, I was the person watching.
  • Barack Obama elected to the office of President of the United States of America. ( every network imaginable).
  • The Daily Show
  • The White Stripes showing up to sing ” We Are Going To be friends” on Conan O’Brien’s last Late Night
  • Jimmy Fallon not totally sucking as he took over Conan’s slot.
  • Jimmy is still no match for Craig Ferguson’s The Late Late Show.
  • The Colbert Report
  • Hugh Jackman hosting the Oscars. The Theater geek in me died a glorious,rapturous death. I loved most of it.
  • Gray Gardens
  • Almost everything on the Food Network’s prime time sked.

So this lead me to the question of the day. What was your highlight of the 2008-2009 TV season?

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  • New Tragically Hip record to drop in April, called We are the Same. Hip.
  • Peter Gabriel will be at the Oscars Sunday, but he won’t sing. I don’t blame him. He’s Peter” Sledgehammer” Gabriel, the man responsible for the greatest love song of the last thirty years with ” In Your Eyes”. Let him sing all of that Wall-E song before he wins the damn award.
  • Shonda Rimes insists T.R. Knight and Katherine ” No Self Censorship” Heigl are NOT leaving Grey’s Anatomy. I wish the show would leave, it hasn’t been good since season two.
  • This is Conan O’Brien’s last week as host of Late Night. The White Stripes will perform on Friday’s show. I’m recording the whole week because I love Conan and the last fifteen years have brought me such absurdis joy.
  • Wanda Sykes to host the National Correspondents Dinner in D.C. Genius.
  • Mandy Moore engaged to a homeless man who resembles altcountry superstar Ryan Adams. Wait, it IS Ryan Adams.
  • Trump Entertainment ( the Casino Division) files for Chapter 11 for the third time.
  • Two And A Half Men‘s popularity continues to baffle comedy snobs, feminists, people with half a brain, and television critics. Sadly, I get why Chuck Lorre’s two most recent sitcoms center around men. See: Rosanne, Cybill Shepherd, Brett Butler.
  • Matt Selman at Time.com goes all fanboy giddy over seeing Watchmen.
  • Dumbass band name of the century: This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb. And they wonder why the TSA pulled them off for questioning.
  •  Interesting story of the day: A third of civil unions in France are done by straight couples as it is easier to get out of than marriage in the still predominantly Catholic country. So much for the theory that it protects the sancitity of marriage.
  • Some right wing zealots say gay marriage violates the first amendment. I say either the government gets out of the marriage business or everyone shut up. It can coexist as both a legal and religious ceremony, but they are not interchangable, or else Churches cannot discriminate against couples marrying interfaith or calling the children of marriages not done in the spectacle of the church bastards ( I’m looking at you, Pope Benny).

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Robert Plant and Alison Krauss’ album and Radiohead’s album are both actually 2007 releases. I’ve decided to post my top ten list from 2007 as a reminder- as it’s written on Bitten By A Cougar ( Growlin’ To The Groove, y’all, since May 2008), so no yelling at me when they do not appear on the 2008 list. I never said which year end list they would appear on.

10. Patti Smith Twelve– a cover album from the queen of poetic punk, with tracks that are personal to her in one way or another, Patti Smith cemented her position as one of the great non- traditional singers ( which is a nice way of saying, crappy voice, but compelling). My version actually has thirteen song- as I have a bonus track of her singing ” Everybody Hurts” ( and WOW!), but included are covers from Hendrix through to Tears For Fears and Nirvana.

9. Radiohead In Rainbows– it’s not about the revolutionary album release that allowed fans to pay whatever they could or would. It’s not about the band’s reluctance to share Internet sales or the fact everyone also went out and bought it on CD as soon as it was available. It’s about ” Nude”, the longtime live favorite finally put on an album, or ” Jigsaw Falling Into Place”, or ” Bodysnatchers”, or ” House Of Cards”… the album is one of their best.

8. Tegan and Sara The Con– twin sisters from Calgary make pretty pop songs, with help from Matt Sharp, Jason McGerr, and Hunter Burgan. With jangly piano matched with dark lyrics about crumbling relationships, this album sounds like the most happy nervous breakdown in music since Brian Wilson.

7. Mika Life In Cartoon Motion– I think it may be clear I have a soft spot for dance pop i refuse to acknowledge. But from the moment I first heard the bass and piano lines that open ” Grace Kelly”, I was hooked on the classically inspired Mika’s new brand of clubland fun. This album is what I listen to when I’m doing housework or I just need to feel alive.

6. Amy Winehouse Back To Black– oh, the voice- perfect for neo jazz soul. But as we watch the train wreck that is Amy Winehouse on CNN, we might forget that underneath Mark Ronson and Salaam Remi’s exquisite production is a girl with an incredible voice. The sly ” You Know I’m No Good”, the mournful title track, and the horns and demons ” Rehab” all stick out, but then there is ” Tears Dry On Their Own”, with musical references to Tammi Terrell and Marvin Gaye, that remains my favorite song.

5. Alicia Keys As I Am– a child prodigy who skipped Columbia University for a record deal at J, she made a huge splash with her debut, only to keep the momentum up with her follow up. Nobody has strung three quality albums off a debut like that since… well, the Beatles. So as her third studio album hit the store, a lot of critics sharpened knives only to discover she just gets better ( at least, most of them. Some people just do not like her). First single ” No One” is still astonishing in it’s musical maturity, and ” Teenage Love Affair” is expert storytelling.

4. Foo Fighters Echos, Silence, Patience, and Grace– from the fierce guitars on opener ” The Pretender” and the more sunshine pop with death knell lyrics of ” Long Road To Ruin” ( which was teamed with one of the bands trademark hilarious videos), to the emo slamming ” Cheer Up Boys ( You’re Make Up Is Running)”, and the acoustic, mournful instrumental ” Ballad Of The Beaconsfield Miners”, the band is at top form. I love ” Home”, the album closer.

3. Robert Plant and Alison Krauss Raising Sand– seriously, this was not supposed to work. The Ultimate Cock Rock God mashed with the ultimate Bluegrass Queen? The gentle voice of a sweet girl mixing with the wild expense of the king of hard rock? But from the moment they start on ” Rich Woman” and nail songs from Sam Phillips, Gene Clark, The Everly Brothers ( huge hit ” Gone, Gone, Gone”), Townes Van Zandt, and Tom Waits, you realize that they are actually made for each other, and you enjoy the subtle mix of two music worlds.

2. The White Stripes Icky Thump– I am in awe of Jack White’s talent, and this album, stepped in British influence ( due to Jack’s marriage to model Karen Elson, who is from Northern England, where the album title hails from as a colloquialism), is amazing. It’s not the type I’ll listen to once a week ( I believe I’m in agreement with Robert Christgau on his assessment that it’s a grand monument, but I wouldn’t wan to settle there), but when I do pull it out and listen, I’m always amazed.

1. Arcade Fire Neon Bible– they wrote a song about Joe Simpson, named it ” ( Antichrist Television Blues)”. They threw into their hodge podge orchestra a hurdygurdy. They sing of cars, Americana, french fables, Haitian troubles, and escaping. They aim for grandiosity and achieve it. A magnificent album, one that has yet to leave my CD changer in eighteen months.

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